A farmer was arrested Friday on suspicion of sexual assault and false imprisonment after a woman reported he attacked her at a farm in Watsonville last month, according to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies arrested Manuel “Juan” Cobarruvios Alvarez, 60, in connection with an assault on a woman who said he took her to a secluded area at the Alvarez Farm in Watsonville at 9 p.m. on Sept. 12, sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Kennedy said. Before they left, Alvarez told her she might be hired to work for him at the farm where Alvarez was the employer, Kennedy said.
When they arrived at the isolated area on the farm, the suspect sexually assaulted her and for a time refused to allow here to leave but the victim was finally able to convince him to let her go, Kennedy said. Following an investigation into the woman’s report of the incident, deputies contacted and arrested Alvarez on Friday on suspicion of sexual assault to commit rape and false imprisonment, according to Kennedy.
The sheriff’s office had investigated a similar instance in April, when a woman reported Alvarez took her to a secluded area under the guise of offering her a job in agriculture, then made sexual advances that the woman rejected, Kennedy said. The woman in the April incident was able to prevent the situation from advancing to the level of a criminal act, Kennedy said. The sheriff’s office is concerned that Alvarez may have used potential employment as a ruse to subject other victims to assaults in secluded areas, Kennedy said.
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